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602p Rides Again
Posted by netwebly

A widely-circulated email hoax which caused a lot of confusion last year has reared its ugly little head again - this time in a televised debate between the candidates in the New York Senate race.

Moderator Marcia Kramer of WCBS, the New York television station hosting the second of three debates between Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rick Lazio, threw a pretty wicked curveball when she asked the candidates to comment on a proposed bill which would assess a tariff of five cents on every email message.

Both candidates responded by attacking the idea, which was probably just as well, because the bill in question does not exist.

The 602p hoax is a story which first received wide attention last year when members of congress were deluged with angry email from constituents taken in by the hoax.

The original email, which asked recipients to contact congress to complain about the fictional legislative plan to impose a tariff of 5 cents on every email sent or received in the United States, was widely distributed on the Net.

Believing the story was true, thousands of angry people forwarded the message to friends and sent email to Washington.

Although the hoax clearly displayed many warning signs of a fraud, many people were taken in. Among obvious signs that the email was joke: a statement that the US Postal Service had lost $230 million in revenues to competition from email (a lot of money, even for the US Postal Service) - and the inclusion of a nonexistent US Congressman - Congressman Schnell - as one of 602p's supporters.

WCBS told reporters the question was among a number submitted by visitors to its web site and said Kramer had no idea the legislation did not exist.


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